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Study provides documentation that tumor 'stem-like cells' exist in benign tumors
Date:7/23/2009

LOS ANGELES (July 22, 2009) Cancer stem-like cells have been implicated in the genesis of a variety of malignant cancers. Research scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute have isolated stem-like cells in benign (pituitary) tumors and used these "mother" cells to generate new tumors in laboratory mice. Targeting the cells of origin is seen as a possible strategy in the fight against malignant and benign tumors.

Cells generated from the pituitary tumor cells had the same genetic makeup and characteristics as the original tumors and were capable of generating new tumors, according to an article in the July 2009 issue of the British Journal of Cancer, posted online June 30.

Normal stem cells have the ability to self-renew and the potential to "differentiate" into any of several types of cells. Tumor stem-like cells appear to have the same self-renewing and multipotent properties, but instead of producing healthy cells, they propagate tumor cells. In this study, benign tumor stem-like cells were analyzed for their genetic makeup and behavior.

Pituitary adenomas have unusual characteristics that provided significant clues about several types of stem cells. The pituitary gland, situated at the base of the brain behind the nose, is stimulated by hormones from the hypothalamus gland to produce a variety of hormones that control other glands throughout the body. About half of all pituitary adenomas which arise from pituitary gland tissue also have this hormone-producing capability.

In these studies, the scientists isolated stem-like cells from both hormone-producing and non-producing pituitary adenomas that had been surgically removed from eight patients. Laboratory experiments focused on tumor stem cells from one tumor that produced growth hormone and one tumor that produced no hormones. Both types of stem-like cells were found to be self-renewable and multipotent, meaning they expr
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Contact: Sandy Van
sandy@prpacific.com
808-526-1708
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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